Topic 1.4
Garden of Eden
– PURPOSE –
Helping Christians engage in intelligent and persuasive conversations with doubters and unbelievers
MACRO TOPIC 1.4

Garden of Eden

First time God speaks to man
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Questions
Answered here from the Bible

🟩  Does everyone inherit Adam's sin and guilt?

🟩  Was the earth a perfect paradise before Adam?

🟩  Will all people without Jesus as Savior burn in hell forever?

🟩  Did Adam's sin cause all death on earth?

Big bang in bible
Discovery
See what the Bible actually says
This Discovery section searches the Bible for answers to the questions above and provides information for intelligent and persuasive conversations with doubters and unbelievers

Man's first encounter with God

The earth had been billions of years in the making. Then God comes! And begins personal relationships with humans!!

He chose one man – Adam – to make the first move from physical life to spiritual life. Man had never encountered God before, and now a whole new quality and dimension was added to human life.

People outside of the Garden of Eden lived and died completely unaware of what was happening inside the Garden. As it is even to this day, for reasons we don't understand, God chooses to reveal himself to some people but not to others, mostly a consequence of time and place.

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What happened
in the Garden?
Eden storyQ&A Garden of Eden
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Eden story

The story of the Garden of Eden – man's first encounter with God – is told in Genesis 2:8 - 3:24.

'The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the Garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.' (Genesis 2:15-17).

The Garden of Eden is both a time and a place. The story is well known, but highlights and major themes are in Topic 1.4.1, and answers to frequently asked questions are in Topic 1.4.2.

According to Bible genealogy (see 1.3.3), and general agreement among Bible scholars, the time was approximately 4000 BC.

The Bible says that the Garden of Eden was at or near the headwaters of four named rivers. Even though the names of two of the rivers have changed and are now impossible to identify precisely, it appears that this garden (special place) was in Iraq (formerly Mesopotamia, known as the cradle of civilization) between the Tigris and Euphrates, near the Persian Gulf.

Derived doctrines

Everyone even remotely knowledgable about the Bible knows that the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is foundational theology for Christians, Muslims and Jews. Many different belief systems have developed from this story over the centuries.

Doctrines are the teachings of churches, mosques and synagogs. All major religious groups have splintered many times over the doctrines – and are still splintering today – with each group claiming to have the correct understanding of the scriptures.

The original Hebrew text of the Eden story is not in question. The differences are only in the interpretation. The Bible studies here contain links to the Hebrew text with character-by-character translation into English by the world's best Hebrew linguists.

Tap the strip below if you want to read from the original text, stripped from all tradition and church doctrine:

Hebrew-to-English Interlinear Translation
Eden story / starting Genesis 2:8 ...

The Bible studies here display all relevant scripture verses on each issue, to help people find the reasons for WHAT and WHY to believe, direct from the Bible, without being steered by any particular tradition or doctrine.

Most Bible studies elsewhere use the fill-in-the-blanks method to affirm what most people in the group already believe ... to make sure desired answers are given ... and to make everyone feel good by thinking that they have participated in a thorough study.

The Bible studies here use the Socratic method of study for raising any and all hard questions ... objectively searching the Bible for answers ... and thinking deeply about how to put it all together for coherent understanding and presentation.

For people today, the doctrinal issues derived from the Eden story are more important than details of the story itself.

GARDEN OF EDEN

This subject in six parts
Six separate Bible studies are necessary to adequately cover this subject.
This page is a summary of the six supplemental studies listed in this panel.
What the Bible says about the Garden of Eden and major theological doctrines developed from the Eden story is far too much to learn in a single session. You can bookmark this page and come back to study the parts.

ORIGINAL SIN?

Everyone guilty for what Adam did?

Sin of an ancestor

The story of Adam and Eve raises this theological question: Does God ever hold a person guilty for the sins of another?

How we answer this question here sets the pattern for how we understand sin and eternal life in all parts the Bible.

A majority of Christians – Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox – have been taught that the full guilt for Adam's sin is placed on every human being and that, without salvation through Jesus, everyone will burn in hell forever because of it, even apart from their own sin, and even if they never heard of Adam or Jesus. Everyone, tradition says, is born guilty and condemned to hell.

This doctrine is known as original sin, inherited sin, transmitted sin and ancestral sin.

None of these terms appear anywhere in the Bible.

Developed hundreds of years after Jesus

The doctrine of original sin – that we all all guilty for Adam's sin – was conceived by theologians long after the death of Jesus, Apostles and New Testament writers.

In scripture, Jesus taught only that we are guilty for our own sins, and he never even mentioned Adam's name.

The doctrine had its origin in the writings of Tertullian (160-220) and Cyprian (200-258). It was popularized by Augustine (354-430), Luther (1483-1546) and Calvin (1509-1564).

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ORIGINAL SIN
Trace to Saint Augustine 400 AD
The concept of original sin was originated long after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and formation of the early church. The doctrine did not come from Jesus' teachings but rather from the way some theologians began interpreting the words of the Apostle Paul in the 5th chapter of Romans.
The first known mention of this concept was by Irenaeus in the 2nd century. In the 5th century it was popularized by Saint Augustine and gradually became church doctrine. Luther and Calvin retained it in the reformations of the 16th century.
TAP for reasons why people are able to interpret scripture more accurately today than Saint Augustine could interpret it sixteen hundred years ago.
Saint Augustine

The men who developed the doctrine of original sin did not have any personal interaction with Jesus or his disciples. Hundreds of years had passed. Oral transmission was no longer consistent and trustworthy, so for truth they studied the same verses in the Bible that we will study in Topic 1.4.3.

Today, we can study these verses just as well, or better, than they could in their day.

Developed from three verses

The doctrine of original sin is constructed upon these three verses:

'Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.' (Romans 5:12)

'Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.' (Romans 5:18)

'For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ will all be made alive.' (I Corinthians 15:21-22)

At the surface level, these three verses seem to contradict dozens of other verses in the Bible, especially the words of Jesus, and major themes of the Bible such as free will, God's love and God's justice.

However, they can be harmonized with the rest of scripture when studied in context rather than pulled out as stand-alone verses, as shown in Topic 1.4.3.

There are 31,102 verses in the Bible, but these are the three upon which the doctrine of original sin was developed. Christians talk about original sin as through it is a theme that runs through the Bible. Not so. It rests upon three verses pulled from their broader context. Even with these verses – read them again – one has to strain to try to make them say that everyone is guilty for Adam's sin. That is a big stretch and an addition to scripture.

If Adam caused such a horrific change in human nature and the course of human history, we would expect the Bible to contain more than three vague references to such a catastrophe affecting the life and destiny of every person.

Tap question below to see three other verses (off-point) that proponents sometimes cite as additional support for the doctrine of original sin.

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TAP: 'I was brought forth in iniquity' ... 'in sin did my mother conceive me' ... 'by nature deserving of wrath' ... What about these verses?

Many people over-reach with these so-called additional 'proof-texts' they say support the concept of original sin. Notice that these verses never even mention Adam.

  • Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me' (Psalm 51:5). This verse simply says that King David was born into a sinful world and that his mother, like everyone, was a sinner.
  • 'Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies' (Psalm 58:3). This verse simply says that people have free will and a sin nature which become evident at a very early age (obviously not at birth because newborn babies don't spread lies).
  • 'Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath' (Ephesians 2:3). The verse simply says that everyone has a sinful nature (essential for free will) ... the sinful nature is why everyone sins ... for which everyone deserves punishment. This doesn't make a case for the universal guilt of Adam's sin.
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Everyone guilty
for Adam's sin?
Original Sin (Rom 5)
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Deep study on original sin

The concept of original sin is derived primarily from a few verses written by the Apostle Paul in the fifth chapter of Romans. TAP orange button for a deep study of that scripture.

Our sin nature

The Bible teaches clearly that we have a sin nature (Romans 7:15-18), but that is not the same as saying we have original sin.

Everyone sins, individually, because of our sin nature ... our propensity to sin ... wanting to become our own god in charge of our own life.

Why do we have a sin nature? Because God gave us free will. Free will would be meaningless – not free at all – unless we sometimes exercise it in a wrong way.

And why do we have free will? Because God loves us and desires a reciprocal relationship with us. Free will – with all its risks – is essential for real love.

WHAT DID JESUS SAY?

about Adam and original sin

BIBLE INTERPRETATION on this site is guided by last words of Jesus to his disciples:
'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.' (Matthew 28:18)

Authority

All authority is from Jesus (verse above). Not church, not tradition, not Saint Augustine, not even Apostle Paul.

When we must choose between two or more possible interpretations, we should always choose the interpretation most in accord with what Jesus said.

With regard to Adam and original sin, what did Jesus say? Nothing. Complete silence. Nothing there, so nothing to talk about. There is no record of Jesus ever even mentioning Adam's name. Jesus talked only about our own choices and our own sins.

Original sin is a concept developed by theologians hundreds of years after Jesus and is defended now primarily on the basis of church tradition rather than words of scripture.

We should not add to Jesus' teachings, especially when the add-on is contradictory.

Mission

Jesus said that our mission is to 'make disciples.' The doctrine of original sin is a man-made barrier to Christian faith and a hindrance to our mission. It demeans the character of God, causing doubters and unbelievers to see God as cruel and vindictive rather than loving and just.

Statements by Jesus

Jesus said nothing about original sin. That doctrine was created by theologians hundreds of years later. But Jesus did make some statements that contradict that doctrine:

The closest thing Jesus said on the subject of inherited sin is in John 9:1-3: 'As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' 'Neither this man nor his parents,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.'

In John 3:18 Jesus said, 'Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.' By this statement – 'whoever does not believe' (personal choice) – Jesus is saying that people are not already condemned at birth.

John 5:24, Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned.' By this statement – 'will not be condemned' (future tense) – Jesus is saying that people are not already condemned at birth.

John 15:22 Jesus said, 'If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.' By this statement – 'would not be guilty of sin' (conditional) – Jesus is saying that people are not already condemned at birth.

ELEVEN REASONS

for not believing original sin

✓ REASON 1. Jesus didn't teach it
Jesus didn't teach the doctrine of original sin. There is no place in scripture where Jesus even mentioned Adam's name – his sin is a non-issue – and the the panel above shows that Jesus taught that we are responsible only for our own sin. What Jesus said, and didn't say, is reason enough, but there are more reasons:
✓ REASON 2. God knew everyone would sin
'God saw all he had made, and it was very good' (Genesis 1:31). It is blasphemous to say that God didn't know what he was doing, couldn't foresee the future, and that one man could foul God's master plan. God knew full well what would happen when he gave humans free will, a risk essential for genuine love. No person can ruin God's marvelous creation.
✓ REASON 3. God's love and justice
It is difficult to conceive of anything more unloving and unjust than to condemn billions of people – perhaps a hundred billion or more – to eternal torment for something they did not do or even know about ... especially those to whom he did not offer a means of salvation. That notion is as far from love and justice as anything anyone could possibly imagine, and it is contrary to God's character.
✓ REASON 4. Human free will
Responsibility and punishment for personal choices – the exercise of our individual free will as taught extensively throughout scripture – become meaningless if everyone is born with maximum guilt and subject to maximum penalty. In fact, this notion is the same as saying that people really don't have free will, since most people have died without knowing about God's offer of salvation through Jesus and thus didn't have any choice in the matter.
✓ REASON 5. God's will
'He [God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance' (2 Peter 2:9). God would not violate his own will by designing life so that everyone is doomed to perish from the moment of birth, with most given no means of salvation.
✓ REASON 6. Adam not our representative
Many Christians argue that Adam was the first person and thus the representative of the human race, so that all of his descendants must also bear the guilt for his sin. Actually, Adam was probably not the first human, and nowhere does the Bible say that God appointed him to be federal head of the human race and make decisions on our behalf.
✓ REASON 7. Confession not possible
'If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness' (I John 1:9). A theme throughout scripture is that confession is a necessary prerequisite for removing the penalty for guilt. It is impossible for people to confess original sin because they didn't commit the sin.
✓ REASON 8. Father's guilt never inherited
'The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father' (Deuteronomy 24:16). 'The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers' (Ezekiel 18:20). The Bible teaches that people will stand before God at judgment for their own sin, not for sin of their fathers, even though they may suffer worldly consequences.
✓ REASON 9. Old Testament doesn't say it
If Adam's sin were the cause of death and eternal damnation for all people, we would expect the Old Testament to speak frequently about him and his monumental sin, but Adam is never mentioned again after Genesis 5 (except in a long list with hundreds of other names in I Chronicles 1). The curses God placed on Adam for his sin did not include corruption of future generations. Neither is Adam blamed for Cain's murder of Abel or for the flood. The Old Testament stresses consequences for our own sin without ever even a hint that the guilt of one person's sin is inherited by another.
✓ REASON 10. New Testament doesn't say it
This statement may be debatable because many Christians – perhaps most – do believe that the Bible teaches the doctrine of original sin, but very few Christians have ever personally studied it from the Bible. They believe it because it is what they have been told from centuries of tradition. The New Testament never mentions original sin, except possibly for three vague comments from the Apostle Paul taken out of full context. Topic 1.4.3 is a study of these comments and concludes that the Bible teaches that everyone has a sin nature because of free will but does not teach that everyone is born with the guilt of Adam's sin.
✓ REASON 11. Drives people away from God
It does a Christian no harm to believe in original sin. Whether it's our own sin or Adam's sin, all sin is covered by Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross when we accept Jesus as Savior, and inherited sin becomes a moot issue from our standpoint. But from the standpoint of unbelievers, the doctrine of original sin does great harm, driving them away from God by defaming Him and portraying Him as an unjust vindictive monster rather than as a loving father.

ADAM'S SIN CAUSE OF ALL DEATH?

Death on earth before Adam

Earth has never been immortal

Everything physical is mortal (dies), even non-living things, including stars (we see it happening now through telescopes), and eventually the earth itself will die.

'The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way ...' (2 Peter 3:10-11)

If there were no death before Adam, that would mean that God created everything immortal, but there is nothing in the Bible to even hint that the earth was once immortal.

Human condition

The human condition, like the condition of everything else in God's creation, is that we eventually die. Death is not a design flaw or mistake. God designed everything to die, a practical requirement to prevent overcrowding and suffocation and to promote continuous growth and change.

Death preceded sin

There is ample evidence that the cycle of life-and-death was functioning in the world long before 4000 BC, the time the Bible says sin first entered the world 'through' Adam' (not 'because' of Adam;)' see 1.4.3 for study of Romans 5. There been death on earth since the beginning of time.

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Sin cause of death?
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Sin not cause of death

Since there was death on earth before sin, sin cannot be the cause of death (see 1.3).

Most Christians believe that sin causes death only because that is what they have always been told, not because of their own Bible study.

Romans 5:12, the principle verse quoted for this view, states: '...just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned ...'

The verse does not say that Adam's sin caused death in the world. The verse says explicitly that death is 'because ALL sinned.'

The verse says that ever since Adam sinned – the first sinner – final death now comes to humans IN THIS WAY: death through sin; i.e., final death now comes after resurrection, judgment and punishment in hell.

In other words, sin has intervened in the life-and-death process ever since man received and violated the first law from God. Instead of simply dying– like everything else in God's creation – for man it is now death through sin. There is now accountability for sin before final death.

The good news – the 'gospel' – is that there is one exception. Instead of going through SIN to eternal death, an optional way (our choice) is going through JESUS to eternal life.

This is explained in detail in the study of Romans 5 (see 1.4.3) ... the study of death before Adam (see 1.3.2) ... and the study of death and hell (see 3.5.1).

Some say 'spiritual death'

Jesus and the New Testament writers spoke often about 'eternal life.' It is the central theme.

To connote the opposite of eternal life, traditional Christians often say 'spiritual death,' a term that is an oxymoron to everyone else. It is an invented term, not in the Bible.

'Spiritual death' is usually a polite way of saying burn in hell forever. People who use the term seem to be saying that, after bodily resurrection and judgment, death doesn't really mean death but really means living forever, in torture, unable to die.

TAP question bar to see how this terminology is contrary both to normal usage and to the character of God.

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TAP: What's the problem with term 'spiritual death?'

Problems with 'spiritual death' concept

The term 'spiritual death' creates considerable confusion. Usually it doesn't mean to the listener – especially a doubter or unbeliever – what it means to the speaker. It's a kind of insider code talk.

Here are some problems with the term:

  • OXYMORON. It doesn't make sense to redefine 'death' to mean 'life.' The concept of death and the concept of life forever in hell are mutually exclusive.
  • LIFE PRECEDES DEATH. It doesn't make sense to say that a person can have spiritual death without first having spiritual life.
  • COMPREHENSION. God warned Adam that, if he eats the forbidden fruit, he 'will surely die.' Adam could not have comprehended anything other than the ordinary death he observed outside of the Garden. There is no need to give death a different meaning.
  • DEATH IS NOT PUNISHMENT. Birth-aging-death is the natural order of all life, existing before sin, a necessity to prevent suffocation from overcrowding and to make room for new life and improvement. Even stars and planets die, unrelated to decisions about good and evil (see 1.3). There is no need to give death a spiritual twist and say that it is punishment for sin. The punishment for sin is time in hell and denial of eternal life. In hell, death will be merciful.
  • PEOPLE WHO NEVER HEARD. There were many millions of people who lived before Adam sinned (see table above). On what basis would they have eternal life in heaven? Or on what basis would they burn forever in hell? They simply didn't know anything about what God was doing, and God had not yet given any revelation or command. Who can say with scriptural certainty that those people, and others who have never heard, don't just die (end of existence)?

Death means 'death'

We should use words only in the way they are sensible and generally understood by others. People understand the word 'death' to mean end of existence, not the beginning of a new kind of everlasting life.

What does 'die' mean?

God said to Adam: 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.' (Genesis 2:16-17). In other words, Adam will no longer have access to the Tree of Life – will lose opportunity for eternal life – and therefore will 'die' (cease to exist).

How we interpret 'die' in the story of Adam and Eve sets the pattern for how we interpret death and eternal life in other parts of the Bible.

THE INTERPRETATION FROM BIBLE STUDY ON THIS SITE is that the word 'die' is simply its normal meaning: final end of existence (now however, since Adam, final death comes after physical death, resurrection, judgment and punishment in hell). After punishment, no body. No consciousness. Nothing. Final eternal death. In Jesus' words: 'die ... burned up ... destroyed ... consumed ... perish' (see 3.4.1), refered to as the 'second death' in Revelation.

People who receive and reject God's offer of eternal life will eventually die in hell. Not live forever in hell, but die in hell, duration and severity dependent upon individual sin and judgment.

'The wages of sin is death'

'For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord' (Romans 6:23).

Many people use this verse to prove that sin is the cause of death. But that's more than the verse actually says. The verse says that death is the consequence of sin, just as wages are the consequence of work. It's what you get. The verse says simply that death is all you get from sin – no eternal life (unless forgiveness through Jesus). It is not a cause statement.

By reading causation into this verse, theologians have made God look like He is not all-powerful and all-knowing ... that He made the universe so poorly that a man could foul everything by causing death in paradise ... and now God has to come back with Plan B (Jesus) to try to fix it. This is dishonoring to God. God always knew what He was doing, and death was always His plan for everything He created. By divine design from the beginning, ultimate death is the default condition for everything on earth, and the only exception to death is eternal life offered to us now through Jesus.

What about Children? OK, God does something special. What about adult incompetent? Adult never heard. All guilty?

BURN IN HELL FOREVER?

Even if never heard about Adam or Jesus?

Punishment for sin

Any deep conversation about sin – and original sin in particular – usually raises the question of punishment.

The traditional Christians belief is that sinners without salvation through Jesus will burn in hell, unable to die, for all eternity.

This is the most horrible punishment imaginable.

Doubters and unbelievers cannot see any justice if all unforgiven sinners are arbitrarily punished the same way, forever, unable to die, especially for people who have never even heard about Adam, the sinner, or Jesus, the Savior.

The Bible makes it clear that there is a hell for unforgiven sinners after judgment ... BUT hardly anyone asks where in the Bible it says that people will burn in hell forever. Where does the Bible say that?

The usual response is to quote one or more of these five verses:

'... into hell, where the fire never goes out' (Matthew 18:18),
'... eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels' (Matthew 25:41),
'... eternal punishment ...' (Matthew 25:46),
'... punishment of eternal fire' (Jude 7) and
' ... And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever' (Revelation 14:11, in a dream, referring specifically to people in an age to come 'who worship the beast and its image').
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After death ...
See what Bible says
Burn in hell forever?
Come back for this

However, these verses do not say that any person alive now or in the past will burn in hell forever.

These verses say only that the fire burns forever ... that Satan, his demons and some people in a future age will burn forever ... and that the punishment (sentencing) is eternal (final, i.e., no hope of any reprieve).

Contrary to burning forever, JESUS SAID clearly that people will eventually die, burn up, be destroyed, consumed and perish in the everlasting fire prepared for Satan and his demons.

Tap HERE or button for study of all 35 Bible verses on this topic.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

man-made barriers to faith

It's not about us. It's about them!

Typical Christian viewpoint

Most Christians shrug off the unjust horror of original sin by saying that it really doesn't matter because all anyone needs to do is accept Jesus as Savior and then it's no longer an issue.

Problem is, many people are so turned off by their perception of Christianity that they never get to that point.

Getting it right is not a matter of how original sin affects us, but how it gives other people a wrong understanding of God and becomes a serious barrier to faith, contrary to the mission given to us by Jesus.

Typical secular viewpoint

Unbelievers think our God – if they even believe He exists – must be cruel and unjust to place the most hideous punishment possible on everyone, even newborn babies, for a sin they didn't commit.

This repulsive image undercuts everything Christians can say about God's love and justice.

People can understand punishment for one's own sins – punishment commensurate with the offense – but original sin is so contrary to love and justice that it can hardly even be imagined.

Bible interpretation

There is universal agreement regarding the exact content of all Bible manuscripts as they were originally written in Hebrew and Greek.

But people come to different conclusions about how to translate and interpret some passages in the original manuscripts, depending primarily on the tradition of one's family, friends and church.

There are over 2,500 different church denominations, each studying the same Bible, and each believing it has found the true interpretation on every point.

Usually the differences don't matter much as long as the beliefs don't stray into the red area, diagrammed here.

The red area is corruption of scripture, as saying that the universe just came into existence by itself without God ... that Jesus is not deity and Savior ... or that there is no heaven and hell.

For most Christians, interpretations taught to them by family and church fall into the green area. Most of these interpretations are fine, and there is no need for anyone to abandon them, but be careful how they are expressed to unbelievers!

Also, there is the blue area, interpretations unfamiliar to people firmly rooted in the green who have never studied the Bible except through the lens of their own traditions.

Interpretations in the blue area are based on careful study of scripture in light of modern knowledge, not constrained by church tradition, and with deep concern about communicating the gospel to unbelievers.

When a traditional green interpretation conflicts with modern knowledge and is keeping people from Christ, a blue interpretation is often presented on this site – with complete Bible documentation – so that, in conversations with unbelievers, there is a biblical way to retain respect and avoid head-on dogmatic stalemate that ends discussion.

People are empowered by information

Internet and social media

People's beliefs today are formed less by institutions (government, universities and churches) than by personal investigation.

Personal relationships and believable answers.

Today the Bible has little or no credibility among most Millennials and GenZs – under age 38 – who now comprise the majority of the U.S. population. They are confused by the inconsistency they hear in Christian talk. Christians say, in this example, that God is a loving heavenly father but at the same time portray him as a cruel monster.

If burning in hell forever for someone else's sin is what the Bible actually says, we would have to accept it. But as this study shows, that is NOT what the Bible says!

people smarter. Internet. Social media.

STREET INTERVIEWS

what people are thinking

Unnecessary war with science

Most Christians reason like this: No one ever asks me about the Garden of Eden or original sin ... so these issues can't be important. People just need to know that the Bible says they need Jesus as Savior.

The fact that doubters and unbelievers rarely ask Christians about these issues doesn't mean that they don't ever think about them. And when they think about them, they are usually turned off by explanations given by Christians that are contrary to the facts of history and science.

Sadly, the Bible has lost so much credibility that most people today don't read it or believe what it says, largely because many Christians declare that the Bible says things which it really doesn't say.
Interviewers went on the street and asked random people what they think about human origin
Their answers are very informative for Christians who want to engage doubters and unbelievers in spiritual conversation.
Watch video clips below

Within many religious groups, science has been portrayed as an enemy, and people have been told that they must make a choice between the Bible and science, as though the two are opposed to each other.

The Bible and science both seek truth, and there is only one truth. Science is just the discovery of the physical laws that control God's awesome creation. God allows us to learn more and more about these laws every year – and find new applications for them – as they build upon each other at exponential speed.

People who don't believe the Bible often think that Bible-believing Christians are either not well informed or are simple minded, and they don't want to say things that would cause embarrassment or offense to their Christian friends. So they're silent, unless asked.

To get a sense of what people today think of the Bible, Christians and Christian faith, listen to what what a random sampling of young people walking down the street in Minneapolis said when asked about human origin. Tap below for Video #4 Street Interviews:

Tap for video clips

Dominant beliefs on the street today

In brief, here are the dominant beliefs expressed by the thirty-six millennial-age people in the four street interview videos shown on these first four topics. Their beliefs mirror the post-Christian worldview:

God – if there is one – is unknowable, like a power, force or energy, not a person.

Human origin is through evolution by chance beginning with the Big Bang; the universe and life are big mysteries.

The purpose of life is to help one another and to create a better and more just society.

There are no absolutes; everything is relative to time and situation; the Bible is an ancient religious book written by men, and it has no supreme authority.

There is no sin in the biblical sense, against God, only human mistakes and hurts to others.

Hell is a joke; maybe there's some kind of heaven after death, but no one knows.

This poses the communication challenge for Christians in post-Christian culture.

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Thank you for the article! There are several nonbelievers in my life that I love deeply. My heart breaks for them. Every time I share my faith, I'm bombarded with science. Perhaps this will help. Thank you. God bless you.
I agree there had to have been other people before Adam. The sons had children, with whom? Certainly not with their own mother or the gene pool would have died out.
Excellent
My views on original sin have changed. Romans 5:12 says "all men die because all have sinned". What it doesn't say is "all men die because Adam sinned".
Much of what you share are things that have been revealed to me by the Spirit of God. Finally your site is out and does not counter Biblical script and does not hinder the Christian witness. Thank God.
O my how i wish i could find a friend would be willing to discuss the bible openly with me.
Some scientists are open to intelligent design, the problem is some scientists think they are trying to bring church into the classroom.If some scientists find out that some believe in intelligent design they will lose funding.
False teaching. Repent
This is the best information a believer can get. Where can I donate. Big Bang is consistent to the Bible, great news. Let’s ge smart about religion. Saying the Bible is wrong has helped millions become non believers. This news can reinforce the beliefs in those who strive to believe but need a more firm and also scientific reasoning for the existence of a God. Great web site!
I don't think I believe this
Someone has never had a real encounter with God and does not know the assumptions he is making with the scientific evidence. Sad when you don't know either God or Science
Have always believed in this way ,read and ask for understanding and it will be given to you.
You guys are doing an incredible job of bringing science The Bible together as one truth thank you Please continue this valuable work to awaken the public that the Bible and science are truly God's truth not contradicting each other
I stumbled on your website recently, and was impressed by the scope of it and the balance evident in it.
Trying to reinterpret the Bible according to man’s interpretations that are based on unprovable assumptions destroys the authority of the Bible. God was there. Man was not.
Fascinating to think about. Here is something also to absorb. Let Us make man in Our image. Who is Us? Why not let Me make man in my image. Sounds plural to me. Thank you for the compelling argument Adam is not the first man:)
Yes there were people before Adam, the cave Men and the ice Age.
All present dating methods are based on assumptions that cannot be proven. The methods do not meet scientific requirements of being observable, repeatable, and testable. They can reliable determine chemical compositions, but they CANNOT reliably give age..
No scripture to back up your words.
I don’t think Adam was the first human on earth. I am 72 in age. Most people my age and older do not have this perception. But from my bible study I believe this Genesis points to others.
I appreciate this study.
About time!
lov it
Just another Satanic attempt to change God's WORD. More likely made up of Liberal Kids that don't know any better.
Thank you for this.It helps me understand my youngest grandchild(age 31). Also this affirms my teaching as a science teacher and pastor.
You have developed material that is vitally needed for reaching the newer generations.
An extremely good read.Would like very much to hear more.
Beautifully done and very reasonable. I’ve been struggling with the contradictions in the Bible and science for years. I believe that there is a God but I wasn’t always sure if the Bible Was Gods word or man made. Thank you! Makes so much sense!
Since your website is new and still in the making, it leaves me excited yet hungry for more understanding. Thank you so much for putting your website together to help those of us asking questions about traditional lines of thinking. I look forward to reading more!
Scientists lie to us. They lie about the age of the earth.
Death and suffering had not taken place until the original sin, so no one was before Adam.
As much nonsense and stupidity as I have heard since big bang or evolution.
Thanks, This is what I needed. I can't get enough of this marvelous study.
Pure sophistry for the purpose of setting aside the claims of God upon us.
So far you make a lot of sense, I do believe in God.
I like it! I always wondered about the dinosaurs, and whether other people lived before Adam. You see, the Bible says that Cain was worried about being slain by other people. So, what does that tell you? It's more to the Bible than some clergymen are letting on.
You have an interesting take on how to reconcile the time difference challenge between Bible time history & archeology . I don’t think it will matter about which time viewpoint ya right. What matters is faith & trust in Jesus for forgiveness of sin & gaining eternal life
Yes to have a intelligence conversation is of most importance.
Interesting and thought provoking.
The big bang is a theory. God is a fact.
Loved it. Been saying it for years but nobody listened.
Will this material be made available in print form for purchase?
Rational Evangelicals. Exellent.
Adam was the first person on this earth bottom line
Very good explanation
Had to be people here before Adam, all the ancient buildings prove the civilizations were here. Many teens of thousands of years.
Wrong all wrong
Interesting topics. The bible is good for salvation but not for earth history
I found this to be extremely informative. I'd always had doubts about the "original sin" and being punished for my ancestors sins, but this explained why "original sin" doesn't really exist in a way that resonated with me. Thank you. I will definitely check this site more often.
Unbelievable. Was man there at the beginning to make this determination. No. The human race is so arrogant and ignorant.
I want to learn it all.
Interesting and thought provoking, following a line of thinking that has interested me for years. To question traditional interpretation doesn't detract from the validity and power of scripture but reinforces it. Jesus was rejected by the religious experts of His day because He didn't fit the traditional interpreting of scripture. We still have much to learn.
Humans were around a lot longer the 4000 bc. Thats not even as old as Sumer the first proven civilization. Evidence strongly supports that civilization may have existed long before Sumer.
Only when ignorance, in the name of science, tries to be wiser than what scripture say, is when Gods Word is twisted, unto their own destruction
Does the bible really say humans will burn forever in hell or is it really more like thrown in the fire and destroyed? Ps I already know the answer!
Do you offer a textbook?
Fully embrace this information. By the Spirit I have been convinced before reading this. Any serious thinker who is honest and observant will become agnostic in trying to remain with the ultra conservative ideas of literal six day creation. What a beautiful creation was being made by a glorious intelligent designer!
Thank you I knew about these things but I did not understand
Either believe the world or believe God. We cannot have both.
Scientists make mistakes, and when the scientists' beliefs don't match the Bible then God's word, the Bible, is right, and the scientists are wrong.
2nd law of thermodynamics disproves big bang & evolution.
This is from the devil. The Bible says Satan is a liar and the creater of it. This is a lie created by Satan to deceive people. Adam was the first man and the first sinner. His sin is what started death.
Are these lessons available in printed form that can be purchased or that can be downloaded on line in a condensed version?
By observing ruins etc firsthand, my personal opinion is that man existed before Adam. Adam was the first God breathed His Spirit into.
Just happened upon this site and wow! This is fabulous. I will be back. Thank you for putting this together and sharing it with us all. God bless you and your family.
Of course. If Adam and Eve were the only humans and had children, who did the children copulate with? If it was each other, then everyone would have mental defects. The Adam & Eve story is just the beginning of the Old Testament.
I will read this in its entirety. What I've read so far is right on according to my extensive studies over 27 years.
Excellent reading
Close reader comments
Big bang in bible
Summary
Garden of Eden

🟩  World not paradise before Adam

The Bible says that Adam was in the Garden of Eden about 4000BC. Archaeologists have found people and cities that existed long before that time.

🟩  Adam's sin not cause of all death on earth

Therefore, Adam's sin is not the cause of death on earth (studied in depth in Topic 1.3.2). Nothing in the Bible even suggests that God's physical creation was ever immortal (never dies).

🟩  Everyone inherits Adam's death, not his guilt

He was the first person to have a personal encounter with God ... first to receive a commandment from God ... first to receive an offer of eternal life from God ... first to rebel against God ... first in a new line of spiritual people subject to accountability and punishment from God (studied in depth in Topic 1.4).

🟩  Hell is real, but people won't burn in hell forever

Jesus said people will eventually die, burn up, be destroyed, consumed and perish in the everlasting fire prepared for Satan and his demons (studied in depth in Topic 3.4.1).

🟩  God not honored

It demeans God when Christians perpetuate a false and repulsive impression of his character.
God without love or justice
Church tradition teaches that all people without Jesus will burn in hell forever.
Jesus said just the opposite, that people will 'die' ... 'be destroyed' ... 'consumed' ... 'perish.'

Where in the Bible – if at all – does it say that people will burn in hell forever?

Answers
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